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Linear A
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A syllabic script created by the Minoans and used in Crete and on other Aegean islands of Greece during the Neopalatial (early palace) period, c 1700-1450 BC (also c 2000/1900-1400 BC). The script has never been deciphered. It was inscribed on clay tablets as administrative records, as well as on stone (religious) vases and bronze double axes. Sir Arthur Evans named the Linear A and B scripts such to distinguish them from the hieroglyphic which preceded them; Linear A is the earlier of the two. Each is a syllabary, and was written with a sharp point on clay tablets. Linear A is of the Middle Minoan III-Late Minoan I. It is in some ways similar to Linear B and has pictograms reduced to formal outline patterns. Linear A tablets have been found in the palaces of Crete itself and also on the Cycladic islands of Melos, Keos, Kythera, Naxos and Thera.
Linear B
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A syllabic script used in Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece from c 1450-1200 (also c 1500-1100) BC. Michael Ventris deciphered it in 1952 as an early form of Greek. It was created at Knossos when the Mycenaeans took control and spread to mainland Greece. It was mainly used at the palace sites of Mycenae, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns. Most of the Linear B writings are on clay tablets but also on terra-cotta jars that were traded throughout the Aegean region. The writings are administrative / economic in nature and its decipherment has thrown much light on the continuity between Bronze Age and classical Greece. They are from the Late Minoan II in Crete and Mycenaean III A-B on the mainland. It is probable that when the Mycenaeans overran the Minoans they adopted the script used on Crete, Linear A and adapted it for writing the Greek language; many signs were added to the existing Linear A signs.
Linear Elamite script
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A syllabic script used in Elam for inscriptions c. 2200 BC. The earliest Elamite writings are in a figurative or pictographic script and date from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Documents from the second period, which lasted from the 16th to the 8th century BC, are written in cuneiform; the stage of the language found in these documents is sometimes called Old Elamite. The last period of Elamite texts is that of the reign of the Achaemenid kings of Persia (6th to 4th century BC), who used Elamite, along with Akkadian and Old Persian, in their inscriptions. The language of this period, also written in the cuneiform script, is often called New Elamite.
Linear Pottery culture
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Linearbandkeramik; LBK; Danubian I
CATEGORY: culture
DEFINITION: The earliest Neolithic culture of central Europe, western Ukraine to eastern France, between c 4500-3900 BC. It is so named after curvilinear incised patterns which make its pottery so recognizable. This was the first farming culture in central Europe, based on grain cultivation and domesticated livestock, lasting to 3200 BC on its periphery. The Linear Pottery core area stretches from eastern Hungary to the Netherlands, including settlement concentrations in the Pannonian Basin, Bohemia, Moravia, central Germany and the Rhineland. A second rapid expansion occurred eastwards round the northern rim of the Carpathians, from Poland to the Dnieper. Linear Pottery is characterized by incised and sometimes painted pottery (3/4 spherical bowl) with linear designs (curvilinear, zigzag, spiral, and meander patterns), polished stone shoe-last adzes, and a microlithic stone industry. Small cemeteries of individual inhumations are common as are longhouses with rectangular ground plans. The remarkable uniformity that characterized the Linear Pottery culture in its core area broke down after c 4000 BC and the cultures that emerged - Tisza, Lengyel, Stroke-Ornamented Ware, Rossen etc. - were more divergent in characteristics. It is most possible that it derived from the Körös culture of the northern Balkans.
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Contained by or consisting of a curved line or lines: these designs employ flowing, curvilinear forms
CATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A term describing a script composed of simply drawn lines with little attempt at pictorial representation, especially a form of cursive in which the hieroglyphs were sketched by outline only.
linear earthwork
CATEGORY: feature
DEFINITION: An earthwork, dike, ditch, or bank that is created in a straight line, not curving around to form an enclosure. Such earthworks were of various lengths and created for various purposes. Some Bronze and Iron Age examples may be ranch boundaries with no defensive value, but later Iron Age and the post-Roman Dark Age may be either boundary markers or defense works. Many of these later dikes cut across communication route or lines of easy access, and would have been an effective obstacle against chariots or wheeled vehicles.
linear regression analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A statistical procedure for determining the relationship between two variables. It has many applications in archaeology, as in the study of variations in population or the size of clay-pipe stems through time, or the relationship between the quantity of an item and the distance from its source. One variable (e.g. time or distance) is regarded as independent, while the second is dependent on it; from a set of know observations, it is possible to estimate the relationship between the two. Thus, given the population figures for different times in a region, it would be possible to predict the population for any other date. The method assumes that there is a linear relationship between the variables, and uses only one variable to explain all the variation in the other; these can be serious limitations.
multilinear cultural evolution
DEFINITION: A theory of cultural evolution that sees each human culture evolving in its own way by adaptation to diverse environments. It is sometimes divided into four broad stages of evolving of social organization: band, tribe, chiefdom, and state-organized society. It is often defined by these four general levels of complexity rather than seeing all societies as pursuing a single course.
unilinear cultural evolution
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: unilinear evolution
DEFINITION: A 19th-century evolutionary theory holding that all human cultures pass through the same sequence of evolutionary changes or stages, from simple hunting and gathering to literate civilization. Lewis H. Morgan described seven stages, or ethnical periods, from lower savagery, barbarism, to civilization.

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